Over 865,000 people received Pandemic Unemployment Payment in last 14 months

Minister Heather Humphreys says more than €7.5billion paid out under Covid-19 scheme

More than 865,000 people have received a Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) at some stage since the scheme was introduced about 14 months ago, Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys has said.

She told the Dáil in response to a series of parliamentary questions that more than €7.5 billion had been distributed under the PUP scheme since March of last year.

She said total expenditure on the scheme between April 13th and May 11th of this year was €520 million.

At its peak, in late April and early May of last year, there were about 600,000 people receiving the payment. Numbers increased again following the reintroduction of severe Covid-19 restrictions in December, but have begun to fall again in recent weeks.


The Department of Social Protection said on Tuesday that there were about 13,500 fewer people receiving the payment this week than last (some 363,000).

The total does not include the 177,969 people who were on the Live Register at the end of April.

The department said more than 8,900 staff working in hairdressing and beauty salons had closed their pandemic unemployment payment claims to return to work as well as 4,739 people in the wholesale and retail sectors and more than 3,000 working in construction.

“The past seven days saw 25,920 people close their pandemic unemployment payment claim stating that they were doing so because they are returning to work. Dublin had the greatest number of people closing their claims to return to work (6,578), followed by Cork (2,987) and Galway (1,408).”

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent